I'm Nikki, a creative old soul who loves tea time, tip-toeing through gardens, mounds of books, swaying to records, watercolors, sunset walks with our three yorkies, and star-gazing with Paul. This blog carries snippets of my life with just us two (five with Rusty, Lucy, & Ethel) - I hope it brings you happiness as you snuggle in with something warm and delicious and begin reading. Enjoy, friends!

the blog!

If I had to choose:

Lover of Nostalgia | How to Photograph Fireworks

Hello friends! Is anyone else completely surprised that it’s already July?? That was by far the quickest first six months of a year! But, I cannot complain. This is one of my favorite weekends in the whole year and today is one of my favorite days to be completely drowning in nostalgia – on a lovely summer afternoon 7 years ago, Paul and I had our first date (my sister took that photo of me right before Paul picked me up :)). A picnic, a trip to the zoo, and a walk around the lake…I may have know then that I was going to marry him. And have picnics with him for the rest of my life. :)

So today, we’re enjoying the day off together. Typically we go back to the zoo, have a picnic, and become completely immersed in reminiscing about that glorious day and the past so many years we’ve been together. I wish all days could be like that – I’m a sucker for nostalgia, especially romantic nostalgia. Paul has even told me I celebrate “too many” anniversaries for us. I just can’t help it! It makes my heart swoon. :) But instead of going to the Cities to celebrate, we’re taking it easy out in “our country” (as my nephew calls it – “NeeNee, are we going to your country?” :)). We’ve already started the day by sleeping in – I woke up before him and spent some quiet time in the yard reading my magazines – and then we planned on having breakfast at the local cafe. But serendipity took over and instead of waiting for 30 minutes for breakfast we decided to take a drive further out of our country and into some other country. We landed in Buffalo, a gorgeous quaint lake town with lots of antique shops – bliss! We had breakfast at one of the little cafes attached to more Mom ‘n’ Pop shops, got ice-cream to go and walked around downtown with the lake in view. We’ve been in Buffalo for photos with my cousin at sunset and the sun literally sets right in the middle of the lake – it’s gorgeous, especially with all the colorful sailboats bobbing around the lake. I think I was born to live in a lake town or the ocean…I think we need a boat…

While I’m writing to you, Paul is working on some things for his business and then we’re off again. Garage sales are calling our name and we just can’t say no. We’ll go to Waconia, walk through downtown, I need to get some groceries for tomorrow’s 4th of July festivities, and then we’ve even been flirting with the idea of going to a winery tonight! Ooo la la! And then I imagine we’ll do what we always do on the days we actually have free time – water the garden, make dinner (we’ve finally been able to eat food from our very own garden! It’s amazing!!), watch the sun go down, have a bonfire (hopefully the weather stays nice for us), and watch the stars come out. It really doesn’t get any better than that.

Since it’s the 4th of July tomorrow, I thought I’d give my photographer friends some tips for catching the fireworks display. We took photos of the fireworks three years ago but since then we’ve just decided to sit back and enjoy them. But, if you want to get some good photos, here’s what I would do:

1. Bring a tripod, bug spray (they’re ruthless), blanket, and some wine (why not?).

2. Find a nice open area where people won’t be getting in your way, trees aren’t blocking your view, and the ground is level.

3. Have your focus set to manual and adjust it by taking test photos of where the fireworks will be let off.

4. Have your aperture set to a higher number, like 8.0 or 9.0, your ISO at around 300, and your shutter speed around 1 second. You’ll have to keep testing your settings to see if this will work for where you are and the amount of light that’s nearby, but this should be a good starting point. **The settings for the photo on the right are: Aperture – 5.6, ISO – 200, Shutter Speed – 4 seconds.**

5. Have your camera set to a timer (or use a remote) – I do this because it helps the tripod shake even less so the photo isn’t blurry. Although if you do use a timer (like I do) you’ll have to hope you’re hitting the button at the right time to get the fireworks. If you have a remote, I would use that instead.

6. Enjoy! Don’t take photos the whole time – make sure to actually watch them. :)

Happy 4th of July, friends!! :) Have a wonderful time, eat lots of food, wave to the lovely people in the parades, with your hand on your heart sing the National Anthem with pride, wave sparklers in the air, have a BBQ, watch the fireworks, and sleep soundly knowing you live in the Land of the Free. :) xoxoxo